Friday, November 21, 2014

Antique copper, brass and pewter

Today many copper, brass and pewter items are obsolete because people are no longer using these objects. However, because they add visual warmth and charm to a home, attractive pieces in good condition still appeal to collectors.

17th century Dutch brass candlesticks
Copper and brass objects became common in the home during the 17th and 18th centuries and these early pieces are the most desirable for buyers today. Items from the 19th and the early 20th centuries are typically not as valuable. Many people keep their brass and copper highly polished, which removes patina. Unlike silver, most brass and copper objects were unmarked until the Companies Act of 1862. This can make dating difficult, but not impossible, if you know what you are looking for. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Dating antiques: Late 19th-century style

As the century progressed, and countries such as Italy and Germany became unified, a sense of nationalism pervaded in Europe. This led to a revival of the dominant styles of the previous 500 years, including Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo. New methods of mass production made goods more affordable and available but it also provoked the Arts and Crafts movement as a reaction against it.

Motifs from architecture

The first of these revival styles was Neo-Gothic. Motifs taken from architecture, such as pointed arches, latticework and quatrefoils, and heraldy, were used on furniture, fabrics and tablewares. Stained glass was revived for domestic use.

In France and Italy, there was a return to the Renaissance style. Oak and walnut furniture was carved with spindles and fretwork. Meissen and Sèvres produced porcelain decorated with classical figures, grotesques and scarabs. In Britain, many factories began making a form of richly glazed ceramic known as ‘majolica’. Its name was based on that of maiolica, a type of tin-glazed earthenware produced in Italy from the Renaissance period.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The object of the day: Flowers on a marble ledge by Elise Bruyere

Flowers on a marble ledge (1776 to 1847 France)
by Elise Bruyere  (1776-1847)

Oil on canvas

26.00cm wide 37.00cm high (10.24 inches wide 14.57 inches high)


Description / Expertise
Élise Bruyère was the daughter of Jean-Jacques le Barbier, who was a noted writer, illustrator and painter of French historical scenes. Both Élise and her sister, who was also a painter studied with their father and subsequently with Jan Frans van Dael in his studio at the Sorbonne University. She exhibited at the Paris Salon from 1798 and was to become highly regarded in the male dominated art scene of the early Nineteenth Century, winning a second-class medal in 1827.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The care of antique works on paper

Porcupine, 1951, woodcut by Leonard Baskin
All works on paper have special needs; some problems, such as the damage caused by sunlight, have been touched on above, but this needs emphasis, and other risks need to be mentioned. Whether used for drawings, watercolours, prints or books, the healthy survival of paper, or otherwise, depends upon its quality. Until the early nineteenth century paper was made from linen rags, and the cellulose content in linen meant that added chemicals were unnecessary: this type of paper is the most resilient.
Paper made from wood pulp, as much was from the 1840s onwards, included lignin, an acidic light-sensitive substance which eventually turns the paper brown and brittle, while certain methods of sizing paper, and bleaching it, have also caused susceptibility to damage.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Antique Art Deco ceramics

Bright colours and attractive white and cream glazes are the keynotes of Art Deco ceramics. Pottery and tableware took on bold geometric shapes with attractive hand-finished decoration. Brightly coloured glazes were popular in America. China figures were produced in great numbers: favourite subjects were modern women, naked or scantily dressed, sporting figures and animals.

In England the Doulton Lambeth potteries made small bone china figures that maintained a cautious balance between traditional crinolined lady and the modern woman. Figures by Phoebe Stabler, Richard Garbe and Gilbert Bayes are especially collectable. The Wedgewood range of vases, bowls, covered boxes and inkstands, many designed by the New Zealander Keith Murray, epitomize machine age geometry, enhanced by monochrome matt glazes of subdued green, grey-blue and ivory.
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